Telehealth Services Poised for Explosive Growth in 2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) telehealth changes for 2021 have recently been reviewed in an article published on healthcaredive.com. The report shows that the Public Health Emergency (PHE) has had a significant effect on expanding services now eligible to be provided through telehealth. The numbers tell a dramatic story. Before the PHE was declared in March, only 15,000 Medicare beneficiaries used a Medicare telehealth service each week. After the PHE was announced, more than 24.5 million beneficiaries – more than a third of fee-for-service Medicare recipients- used a telehealth service from the middle of March to the middle of October. Below are five advantages of telehealth and why the service is expected to grow exponentially in South Carolina and the rest of the nation. Access to quality healthcare. South Carolina has an extensive rural population with limited access to quality healthcare. Factors including travel distances, a shortage of doctors, and patient mobility issues contribute to inconsistent patient care. Telehealth is a tool with the potential to level the playing field. A Telehealth visit brings a provider's expertise into the patient's home while eliminating the need for travel and other complications associated with a traditional office visit. Remote Patient Monitoring Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), a telehealth component utilized for specific disease processes, monitors a patient's daily vitals and transmits them to a central location. Medical professionals who analyze the data can proactively adjust medications or care options before symptoms escalate. RPM has proven highly successful in creating a medical safety net for those suffering from chronic health conditions while reducing rehospitalizations. Patient Engagement Telehealth fosters a provider/patient relationship with some of the same benefits and dynamics of personal trainers and life coaches. The healthcare relationship as more of a partnership allows providers to advocate for the patient through education, encouragement, and care consistency. Studies have shown that patients who are both engaged and committed to their care are statistically more likely to achieve their healthcare goals. Receiving Care Sooner A Telehealth visit can generally be scheduled and completed in a fraction of the time it takes to get an appointment at a traditional Doctors office. Depending on the practice, patients sometimes wait weeks or longer to be seen by a Physician. Once seen, large caseloads often prohibit providers from spending more than a few minutes with each patient. The nature of a telehealth visit is more relaxed, taking place in the comfort of a patient's home, and scheduled to ensure adequate time is allowed to address their needs. Beyond Office Hours Telehealth allows providers to see patients regardless of time or place. SC House Calls (SCHC) employs a patient-centric healthcare delivery model that focuses on the patient's needs first. SCHC, in addition to its Telehealth service, offers daily extended hours, weekend appointments, patient scheduled appointments, and 24-7 patient access to medical professionals through its Center for Telemedicine. SC House Calls is a network of nearly 300 medical professionals providing In-home medical house calls and Telehealth visits to Private Residences, Assisted Living Communities, and Skilled Nursing Facilities. SC House Calls serves all 46 Counties of South Carolina. New patient registration, appointments, and 24-7 access to medical professionals is available through its Center for Telehealth @ 800-491-0909

Resources/References
Healthcaredive.com